Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor on Tuesday stated that the decision to put Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed under house arrest “is a policy decision”.
When questioned about the move during a media briefing, the DG ISPR said, “This is a policy decision that the state took in [the] national interest. Lots of institutions will have to do their jobs.”
Ghafoor denied that any foreign pressure was behind the arrest of the JuD chief.
Answering another question about the possibility of the military’s involvement in recent disappearances of five social media activists, the DG ISPR denied the idea that the army had a hand in the abductions.
‘War not a solution’
Speaking about the ongoing situation with India, Ghafoor said, “We don’t want war with anyone. War is not a solution to anything.”
“We want the Kashmir issue to be resolved via United Nations resolutions and dialogue, but this desire for peace should not be misconstrued as a weakness.”
“There have been 945 ceasefire violations across the Line of Control and the Working Boundary over the past three years,” he said.
“In the last four months alone, there have been 314 violations, due to which 46 Pakistan citizens and 40 Indian soldiers have been killed,” Ghafoor said.
When asked how the army was aware of Indian casualties, he said that although India doesn’t often reveal their army’s casualties, “the communication intercepts we receive tell us how many casualties took place on their side.”
“Normalcy at the border has only come through providing a befitting response [to ceasefire violations],” he stated.
He claimed that India is “doing all this according to a preempted plan. It is trying to divert the world’s attention away from atrocities in India-held Kashmir.”
“India’s ‘surgical strike’ was one episode of this drama,” he added.
“The Indian army chief recently also made a statement about the cold-start doctrine… Pakistan had apprehensions it is working on developing these capabilities. The Indian army chief has acknowledged this capability and has made their intent to intensify their actions clear.”
“We want peaceful resolution of issues, but will not compromise on our dignity and respect,” he said. “Pakistan will take steps to strengthen its defence.”
‘70,000 sacrifices in war against terrorism’
The DG ISPR said Pakistan has come a long way since 2008-09. “Peace doesn’t come overnight,” he noted.
“We have sacrificed the blood of 70,000 in this war [against terrorism].”
The DG ISPR clarified that 21,839 of the 70,920 people who made sacrifices in the war had been killed.
“Wherever there is a need for an operation, the armed forces with respect to security advise the state and then the state will decide where they will be carried out,” he said.
“Where necessary, the armed forces and intelligence agencies have conducted Intelligence Based Operations and combing operations ─ even in Punjab.”
Military ops at a glance:
- Operation Sher Dil, Bajaur and Mohmand
- Operation Rah-i-Rast, Swat
- Operations Rah-i-Nijat and Rah-i-Haq, Swat
- Operations in Khyber Agency, Kurram, Orakzai
- Operation Zarb-i-Azb, North Waziristan, Khyber Agency
- IBOs, combing operations in other parts of Pakistan
“All terrorist hideouts in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas have been eliminated. [Terrorists] were either killed, or they fled towards the Afghan border, where the absence of the military allowed them to hideout,” Ghafoor said.
“When Zarb-i-Azb began, our tribal brothers left their homes. 84 per cent have returned, and the rest will be repatriated soon.”
There have been a total of 26,000 IBOs [intelligence-based operations] and combing operations in Pakistan, he said. Of these, 3,000 took place in Balochistan in 2016, and 9,000 took place in Karachi.
Terrorism, extortion and target killing dropped 90pc in Karachi over the last two years due to the Rangers operation, he said.
The army will help the civil establishment conduct the census starting March 15.
“The army chief has granted permission for the support plan. 200,000 soldiers will take part in the census. We will continue our regular operational responsibilities alongside the census,” he said.